Brad McClenny/Associated Press
It feels like football season. A few months ago, I never expected to utter those words. But what has become clear amid limited crowds, game postponements and atypical circumstances surrounding the campaign is that college football can and will still deliver the goods.
Week 6 is upon us, somehow, and it is delightful. Is Miami truly back-ish? What about Tennessee? Will Oklahoma have three losses before the middle of October? Can frisky Arkansas stay frisky against Auburn?
Even though the Big Ten and Pac-12 are still weeks out from kicking into gear, this is the kind of lineup you should cherish.
With it comes the debut of 2020’s locks of the week. It’s a staple that has existed on Bleacher Report in one way or another over the past decade. I’ve done video. Stories like this. Regardless of how it was delivered, the goal was always the same: pick winners.
And each week, I will attempt to do just that using point spreads provided by DraftKings.
All results will be tracked, celebrated and perhaps mocked (if it comes to that). But if you’re looking for Saturday inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.
We start with a clean slate. Here’s to many winners.
Locks of the Week: 0-0
Overall Picks: 0-0
Week 6 Locks of the Week
Texas A&M (+6.5) vs. Florida
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
This point spread is intriguing. Anyone who witnessed the Texas A&M secondary allow roughly 4,689 yards passing against Alabama last Saturday will have a different word for it. But don’t fade coach Jimbo Fisher and his robust $75 million contract yet. At least not this weekend.
This will be the game that the obvious bettor in your circle texts you about. And they will tell you to take Florida. Being the contrarian that I am, I will do the opposite.
That’s not to say the A&M secondary isn’t a concern. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask should have a big day. But the Gators defense has holes, and the A&M offense had some nice moments against Alabama.
Not only will Texas A&M cover, but the Aggies will find a way to win this outright. We’re feeling daring entering the heart of the football calendar. While the pick is A&M with the points, the money line is live.
Oklahoma vs. Texas (Over 72)
Normally, this game is rife with stakes and good ol’ fashion rivalry disdain. And normally, the State Fair of Texas is frying up artery-clogging culinary goodness in the backdrop. But the two teams already have a combined three losses, and the fair, sadly, will not take place this year because of COVID-19.
We’re left with a weird football game. And although I can’t stomach a case for either side, I can make a solid case for points. Lots and lots of points.
The over has already moved up this week—I liked it better at 69. But I still like it here.
Both starting quarterbacks, Spencer Rattler and Sam Ehlinger, can be great in spurts. Both defenses also have issues.
The result could be a delight of a football game—one that could see both teams eclipse 40 points. Also, this game will probably be five hours long. Prepare your DVR if you’re not watching it live. (Note: Watch it live.)
Auburn (-14) vs. Arkansas
The hangover potential here is gargantuan. In fact, there might not be a matchup all season that fits the criteria quite like this.
Arkansas just won a conference game for the first time in almost three years—breaking a 20-game SEC losing streak. The fact that it came against Mike Leach, whose team endured its own massive hangover after Mississippi State beat LSU, is somewhat delightful, but I digress.
This was a massive breakthrough for new head coach Sam Pittman. It was a great moment for starved Arkansas fans. Well done. That said, this is a wonderful opportunity to fade the Hogs.
Yes, Auburn had some offensive issues against Georgia in a 27-6 loss. But Arkansas is not Georgia, and we will see a much crisper effort from a team that still has plenty of offensive pieces.
The line has come down, which makes it an easier target. Plus, did I mention that hangover? It will be sizable. It cannot be cured by Waffle House and three gallons of Vitamin Water. Tigers by three touchdowns.
Virginia (-9.5) vs. North Carolina State
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press/Associated Press
We’re staying with the hangover theme, although we’re moving to the ACC. North Carolina State just gutted out a one-point win against ranked Pittsburgh last week. Virginia, meanwhile, was given another dose of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne in a loss to Clemson.
Spoiler: It went as expected.
The nearly double-digit point spread to follow feels somewhat aggressive. It also speaks volumes regarding the gap in talent and coaching.
Although the final score wasn’t pretty, Virginia hung tough with Clemson for a while in the 41-23 loss. It will do more than that this week at home as a sizable favorite. Don’t just take the points because it looks easy. It’s not.
In Bronco (Mendenhall) we trust.
Duke (-2.5) at Syracuse
I’m going to be frank: This is not a sexy football game.
These teams are a combined 1-6, and the matchup has been saddled with the peculiar 12:30 p.m. ET start time. Also, certified not sexy.
Sure, you could do chores and get ready for a busy afternoon slate. You could mow your lawn or catch up on laundry. Or…you could also put your faith in Duke to end its 0-4 start against a program it should match up well with.
That 0-4 start isn’t as ugly as the record might indicate. It’s not ideal, but two of those losses came against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. And Duke has been relatively competitive, with the exception of its 26-6 loss against Boston College.
Syracuse is coming off a bye following its first victory of the year. That doesn’t do much for me either way. I’m backing David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils.
Plus, I need a reason to watch this game, and so do you.
Other Plays That Will Be on the Card
We like these plays plenty. They just missed the top five, but they count toward the overall record. The number of games included will vary from week to week, depending on how much we like the card.
(For the record, Coastal Carolina (+7) over Louisiana-Lafayette was originally on this card before the game was postponed due to the hurricane. That would have been another winner. Champions, however, adjust.)
Miami at Clemson (Over 63.5): I love both of these offenses. I love both of these quarterbacks. Clemson and Lawrence should have no issue hitting 40 points on their own. Miami and D’Eriq King just need to pick up the slack to hit the over, which the Hurricanes should do.
Marshall (-7) at Western Kentucky: Another sneaky-good game, and I could see Marshall finding its way into the Top 25 sometime soon. Two postponements aren’t helping the cause, but this is a really balanced team. Look for a big win (and cover) on the road.
TCU (-9) vs. Kansas State: Kansas State just gave head coach Chris Klieman a raise and an extension through 2026. TCU is one of the sport’s most entertaining teams. That changes this week when the Frogs win big.
Tennessee (+12.5) vs. Georgia: The Bulldogs are excellent. They proved that last weekend. But I like what I’ve seen out of Tennessee, and I think the Vols have enough to keep this game close enough. This is going to be a low-scoring, ugly game. Georgia gets the win; Tennessee keeps it close enough to cover.
Good luck. Godspeed. And enjoy this glorious lineup of games.
Adam Kramer covers college football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @KegsnEggs. Lines accurate as of 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.